September 2002

Quantum Lithography

Optical lithography is used in the manufacture of microchips to etch patterns on silicon wafers. Because of diffraction, the size of these patterns is limited by the wavelength of the light used. The authors present a new lithographic protocol that uses the quantum properties of light. With this new technique, it is possible to beat the diffraction limit and, in principle, continue the miniaturization process until the atomic scale is reached.

Optical Technology and Paper Management in the 21st Century

There’s a lot of truth to the saying that “Gutenberg made everyone a reader, Xerox made everyone a publisher, and the personal computer is making everyone an author.” What changes in document management are on the horizon? The focus of this article is the changing role of paper in the dissemination and storage of information.

Focus Fluctuations in Laser-Materials Interactions

In laser-materials processing, the maximization of workpiece quality depends in part on optimizing conditions of laser beam size and fluence. Taking as an example the case of misfocus in sharp threshold laser ablation, the author describes the quality variations in laser-material processing that can be caused by a moving workpiece that jitters in and out of the laser beam's focal plane. He also discusses the possibility of engineering specific materials for improved misfocus tolerance.

Microstructured Optical Fibers

Microstructured optical fibers have unique properties that offer an opportunity to manipulate light in new ways, providing a platform for a novel class of all-fiber photonic devices. The authors review recent developments in the design and application of microstructured optical fibers for tuning and switching optical signals.

Light Controlling Light with Enhanced Kerr Nonlinearity

The Kerr nonlinear index of refraction of a three-level atomic medium can be greatly enhanced by atomic coherence induced by two laser beams. Such electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) media can be used to generate efficient nonlinear optical processes at low light intensities. Control and enhancement of Kerr nonlinearity in EIT media can be useful in all-optical communication, all-optical computing, and quantum information processing.

The Grating Light Valve Projector

An optical projector using grating light valves (GLV) as a spatial light modulator array has been demonstrated. A GLV projector uses a combination of lasers and microelectrical mechanical systems (MEMS) to produce a high-definition image suitable for a variety of different projector applications.

Imaging with High-Power Lasers

Imaging with high-power lasers produces excellent quality pictures with very well controlled pixels. Two different mechanisms are used to create the pixels: one that modifies the surface adhesion of the image layer, and another that ablates the material. These methods can be used for a variety of applications, including creation of black and white images, color images, and images on metallic surfaces.

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